Actemra Injury Attorney
Jeffrey D. DeCarlo understands the risks
Actemra (tocilizumab) is an arthritis medication that has been recently linked to hundreds of deaths and serious side-effects including heart attacks, strokes, lung disease, gastrointestinal perforations, pancreatitis and death. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with one of these injuries or died while taking Actemra, contact Jeffrey D. DeCarlo, P.A. immediately. Attorney DeCarlo handles cases in Miami-Dade County, where he is based, and throughout the entire State of Florida.
Actemra is an injectable or intravenous immunosuppressive drug primarily used to treat the symptoms of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. The medication, first approved by the FDA in 2010, is sold by Roche Genentech. In 2017, the FDA additionally approved use of the drug for Giant Cell Arteritis. The medication also is used to treat polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children ages two and older.
Actemra is the company’s fifth-highest grossing product, with more than 760,000 individuals using it worldwide, creating approximately $1.7 billion in revenue for Roche/Genentech.
So what happened?
Actemra has been linked to heart disease
According to an FDA database cited in a report on STATnews.com in June 2017, many people have died or suffered serious injuries after using Actemra for arthritis. The report indicates an alarming trend with more than identified 1,128 pulmonary and cardiovascular deaths, though what role the drug played in the deaths, if any, remains under review.
The report indicates patients being treated with Actemra are at the same risk, if not higher, of suffering a heart attack, stroke and lung disease as individuals using other arthritis medications such as Enbrel, Humira or Remicade. Significantly, Actemra has been widely marketed as not carrying these risks, while competitors have specifically warned the medical community to be more cautious prescribing their drugs to patients with pre-existing issues. Thus, many patients who have used Actemra may have been inadequately warned of these dangers.
Additional data from STAT suggests Actemra users were 50% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than patients taking alternative arthritis drugs. The STAT report also demonstrated that users of
Risk of lung disease, pancreatitis also associated with Actemra
Actemra had a higher incidence of interstitial lung disease compared to the popular competitor drug Remicade. Interstitial lung disease is a scarring of lung tissue which affects or limits a person’s ability to breathe and deliver oxygen into the bloodstream. Lung disease of this nature is sadly considered an irreversible condition.
It was also reported that 132 patients in the study developed pancreatitis while taking Actemra, and 26 of those 132 patients with pancreatitis died. Many healthcare providers consider this a serious side effect that would have affected their decision to prescribe Actemra in the first place.
Many questions remain concerning whether the manufacturer adequately warned prescribers and patients of the serious and potentially fatal risks associated with this dangerous drug. If you or a loved one has taken Actemra and experienced serious side effects, talk to your doctor right away – and contact an experienced attorney who can take action on your behalf.